Anything Suez can do… Now 260ft cargo ship blocks river Arun in Sussex day after Ever Given freed


Anything Suez can do… Now 260ft cargo ship blocks river Arun in Sussex after breaking loose from moorings a day after Ever Given was freed in Egypt

  • A 260ft cargo ship, Elise, is wedged across Littlehampton Harbour, West Sussex, partially blocking waterway 
  • The ship was sailed into the harbour to unload cargo at 1.15am this morning, it became stuck around 3.30am
  • Vessel broke free from some of its mooring lines as the falling tide pulled it out into river, 100ft from its berth
  • Scene reminiscent of week-long Suez Canal saga which saw 220,000-ton Ever Given block cargo in Egypt

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A 260ft cargo ship has wedged itself across a river in West Sussex sparking tongue-in-cheek comparisons with the week-long saga that saw a stuck container ship cause havoc after it blocked the Suez Canal.

The vessel, named Elise, is currently grounded in a diagonal position at Littlehampton Harbour on the River Arun after drifting loose from its mooring lines in the early hours of this morning.

The ship sailed into the harbour to unload cargo at 1.15am today and became stuck at around 3.30am when the tide fell and it broke free of some of its moorings. It drifted around 100 feet before getting stuck in the muddy riverbed, where it is now ‘safely grounded’, a harbour spokesman said.   

The vessel was expected to refloat itself on the rising tide at around midday – with no serious intervention needed, according to harbour authorities.

This is in stark contrast to the 220,000-ton Ever Given, which required 13 tug boats and the dredging of approximately 30,000 cubic metres of sand to break its bow free from the Suez Canal in Egypt yesterday – one of the busiest shipping thoroughfares in the world. 

The 260ft vessel, named Elise, is currently grounded in a diagonal position across the river Arun, on the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour in West Sussex

The 260ft vessel, named Elise, is currently grounded in a diagonal position across the river Arun, on the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour in West Sussex

The ship drifted around 100ft from its berth before the length of the boat became stuck in the muddy riverbed

The ship drifted around 100ft from its berth before the length of the boat became stuck in the muddy riverbed

A spokesman for the Littlehampton Harbour said: ‘The 80 metre ship ELISE entered the harbour at 1.15am this morning. She was moored by 1.45am and discharge of her cargo commenced soon after. 

‘As the tide fell and she settled onto her mud berth, one of her mooring lines parted at 3.30am. 

‘The vessel’s stern then moved out approximately 30 metres into the river before coming to rest on the remaining mooring lines. 

Meanwhile social media users were quick to point out the similarities with the situation in the Suez. One commented : ‘First the Suez now the River Arun!’, while another added: ‘I hope global trade can recover from this mishap.’

A spokesman for the harbour said the ship is predicted to refloat itself on the rising tide at midday. Here a tugboat is seen trying to push the boat to one side so that others can pass

A spokesman for the harbour said the ship is predicted to refloat itself on the rising tide at midday. Here a tugboat is seen trying to push the boat to one side so that others can pass

The ship's mooring lines can be seen attached to the harbour wall, after it broke free of several lines in the early hours of this morning

The ship’s mooring lines can be seen attached to the harbour wall, after it broke free of several lines in the early hours of this morning

A tugboat powers into the ship which is grounded and tilting to one side

A tugboat powers into the ship which is grounded and tilting to one side 

The ship has blocked the river Arun once before, in 2020 (pictured here)

The ship has blocked the river Arun once before, in 2020 (pictured here)

‘Harbour tug ERICA was dispatched to ensure all was stable and harbour staff assisted in putting further lines put ashore.

‘The vessel is currently safely grounded along her full length (only further out than usual) with sufficient lines ashore. 

‘There is no evidence of damage to the vessel. There has been no pollution or injuries. 

The Ever Given cargo ship, seen on Sunday before it was freed, had completely blocked traffic on the Suez Canal for a week

The Ever Given cargo ship, seen on Sunday before it was freed, had completely blocked traffic on the Suez Canal for a week

An aerial view taken on March 27, 2021 from the porthole of a commercial plane shows stranded ships waiting in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez

An aerial view taken on March 27, 2021 from the porthole of a commercial plane shows stranded ships waiting in queue in the Gulf of Suez to cross the Suez Canal at its southern entrance near the Red Sea port city of Suez

A tugboat is seen on Sunday near the Ever Given container ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt

A tugboat is seen on Sunday near the Ever Given container ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal, Egypt

The skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt's Suez Canal imperiled global shipping

The skyscraper-sized cargo ship wedged across Egypt’s Suez Canal imperiled global shipping

‘She will refloat on the rising tide and the intention is to then return her to an alternate berth at high water (around 1pm) to allow discharge to continue.

‘The river currently remains open for the navigation of all craft because there is sufficient space to navigate between the vessel and the west bank.

‘A brief closure of the river between the Red Footbridge and Littlehampton Marina will be required at high water today (in a similar to a normal shopping arrival or departure). Harbour users should as usual listen to VHF 71 for updates.’  

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